Microchip expands radiation-hardened Arm MCU family for space systems
Microchip has announced the qualification of its SAMRH71 Arm-based microprocessor (MPU) and the availability of the SAMRH707 MCU, both implementing Arm Cortex-M7 SoC radiation-hardened technology.
With a growing number of deep space initiatives including planetary exploration, orbiter missions and space research there’s a growing requirement for innovative spacecraft system technology capable of providing connectivity and processing capabilities.
“Spacecraft and satellites are expanding in complexity to provide commercial and military operators with robust new communication and data capabilities, greater reliability and faster speeds, while the operators continuously seek to reduce cost, size and weight,” said Bob Vampola, associate VP of Microchip’s aerospace and defense business unit. “In this environment, lowering system development costs while enabling greater capabilities and space system integration are ever more critical.”
Microchip’s SAMRH71 and SAMRH707 devices have been developed with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, to further research and program initiatives.
“The introduction of Arm technologies for space applications opens up new perspectives by enabling the use of the same ecosystem well in place in the consumer and industrial sectors,” said David Dangla, VLSI Components Expert at CNES. “The SAMRH71 is the first Arm Cortex M7-based rad-hard microprocessor available today on the market. It offers developers the simplicity of a single-core processor and the performance of an advanced architecture without having to implement heavy mitigation techniques as is required for non-space components.”
Using a standard Arm Cortex-M7 architecture and the same peripherals as automotive and industrial processors, the SAMRH71 and SAMRH707 are able to provide system development cost and schedule optimisations by leveraging standard software and hardware tools from the consumer devices.
The SAMRH71, a radiation-hardened variant of Microchip’s COTS automotive SoC technology, provides a combination of space connectivity interfaces along with high-performance architecture with more than 200 Dhrystone MIPS (DMIPS).
Designed for high-level radiation performance, extreme temperatures and high reliability, the SAMRH71’s Arm Cortex-M7 core is coupled with high-bandwidth communication interfaces such as SpaceWire, MIL-STD-1553, CAN FD and Ethernet with IEEE 1588 Generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP) capabilities.
The device is fully ESCC qualified with support from CNES and compliant with MIL standard Class V and Q high-reliability grades, allowing systems to meet strict compliance requirements.
Extending the portfolio of Microchip’s radiation-hardened Arm Cortex-M7-based MCUs, the SAMRH707 device provides analogue functions on top of a >100 DMIPS processor unit with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capabilities, combined with space connectivity interfaces in a small footprint designed for high-level radiation performance, extreme temperatures and high reliability.
The SAMRH707 enables a high level of integration embedding Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) and flash memory, high-bandwidth communication interfaces including SpaceWire, MIL-STD-1553 and CAN FD, along with analogue functions such as a 12-bit Analog-to-Digital converter (ADC) and Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC).